PITTSBURGH – Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is leaving no doubt that he'll be on the field at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium Feb. 1 when Pittsburgh plays Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.
When asked if there was any way he would not play, Ward, who has a sprained right medial collateral ligament, simply replied, "No, I will be."
Ward suffered the injury while making a sliding catch for a first down in the first quarter of the team's 23-14 win over Baltimore in the AFC Championship last Sunday.
He won't practice this week as he continues to rehab the knee. But Ward plans on practicing next week when the Steelers are in Tampa.
"I could have played (against the Ravens), but it was difficult being that it was cold," Ward said. "I really couldn't stay warmed up. I wanted to play. I don't like missing games, but I have two weeks to prepare for the Super Bowl and I won't miss the Super Bowl."
His teammates have no doubt Ward will play, either. "I expect him to be out there if we played tomorrow," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who also did not practice Wednesday due to a stiff back.
Bringing the wood
In three career playoff games, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley has six sacks, making him the first linebacker to have multiple sack games in three consecutive playoff games.
Woodley, who didn't had just two sacks in the Steelers final eight regular season games after getting 9.5 in the first eight, had two each in playoff wins against San Diego and Baltimore.
That caused some questions about whether he was wearing down in his first season as a starter.
"A few weeks ago, I had hit the wall," Woodley said with a laugh. "Whatever anybody wants to call me, I'm cool with it. It doesn't really both me, as long as they mention me somewhere in there, I'm all right."
The Steelers have been designated the road team for the Super Bowl and will wear their visiting white uniforms, just as they did for Super Bowl XL.
The Cardinals will wear their home red jerseys.
The game will mark the third time the Steelers have worn white in the Super Bowl. In addition to Super Bowl XL, a 21-10 victory, they also wore white in Super Bowl IV, a 16-6 win over Minnesota.
Previous Super Bowl winners John Elway, Lynn Swann and Roger Craig will take part in the coin toss for Super XLIII.
Another Hall of Famer, former Jets quarterback Joe Namath, will participate in the presentation of the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation following the game.
Odds and end zones
After averaging an NFL-worst 6.0 yards per punt return in the regular season, the Steelers are averaging a healthy 14.1 in the playoffs. … In addition to Ward and Roethlisberger, linebacker Patrick Bailey (hamstring), center Justin Hartwig (knee) running back Mewelde Moore (ankle), offensive tackle Max Starks (knee) and linebacker Lawrence Timmons (illness) did not practice Wednesday for the Steelers due to injury or illness. Running back Willie Parker, cornerback Deshea Townsend and defensive end Aaron Smith were given their usual day off. … Running back J.J. Arrington (knee) and defensive end Travis LaBoy (biceps) did not practice for Arizona, while punter Ben Graham (groin) and defensive end Antonio Smith (knee) were limited.
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.